Thursday, May 10, 2012

Doctor Who-The Movie

                By the mid 1990's Doctor Who had been off the air on the BBC for half a decade. A renewed interest in televised sci-fi seemed to indicate a possible re-visitation for the series. Of course the series had left the airwaves with a questionable reputation. After a lot of finagling within the ranks of the BBC a television movie for Doctor Who was developed for the American market via the Fox Network. Although a regeneration would be planned for Sylvester McCoy's seventh doctor,Paul McGann was cast as the new eighth doctor. It was actually a "backdoor pilot" that Fox was hoping to launch into a new series. This never happened on television. But it's still part of Doctor Who history and,interestingly enough,a favorite of mine as well. 

                      Plot goes that Sylvester McCoy's seventh doctor was returning with the remains of The Master to Gallifrey when he is accidental detoured to Earth at the turn of the millennium (the 21'st century) in San Francisco where he's killed by a Chinese youth gang. Again the hospital are baffled by his features. He of course regenerates into Paul McGann's very confused eighth doctor. But soon there's no time for any delirium. The Master has escaped and entered the body of a human (Eric Roberts) and  is trying to harness the very power of the TARDIS known as the Eye Of Beauty. He is assisted by Dr. Grace Holloway,who is convinced by the new doctors sensitive and patient nature to help him thrawt the literal "time explosion" to come.

                      Overall it's a far better film than many believed. In terms of presentation it is a harbinger of the series relaunch on the BBC in 2005. The effects are of a full budget this time around. There is a lot of that mid 90's era post-punk fatalism involved,particularly in some of the dialog. But when the doctor arrives,that sense of wonder and mystery wins the day. Paul McGann portrays his doctor as a more romantic and youthful figure-somewhere between the caricatures of Tom Baker,Peter Davison and...well even a little Samuel Taylor Coleridge I suppose.  Daphne Ashbrook is very good at Grace Holloway despite the sometimes annoying "90isms" of her personal character. It's sad due to political reasons in the network and poor fan reception we didn't see anymore of the eighth doctor on TV. So this is really the best of all there is in his case.
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